The Hidden Costs of Smoking and Poor Health Aren’t Worth It
Do you value your vision? The answer isn’t as straightforward as you might think. If you’re like many people, you may enjoy your vision. You may even be one of the millions who worry about losing it. But do you really value it? You may be doing (or not doing) a number of things that make the answer to that question a resounding “no.”
A Tale of Two Patients
In my last post I introduced two very different patients who have macular degeneration. One valued her vision because she has already lost it. The other did not. She only saw the expense involved in caring for herself, and not the value of doing so. Paradoxically, she continues to smoke in spite of the cost of cigarettes. I’m afraid this combination of smoking and self neglect will cause her to lose her vision. Is this an attitude you can afford to take? It’s a valid question whether you smoke or not, because it applies to other aspects of your physical health too.
Marlene lost her vision at the early age of 56 to a particularly devastating form of macular degeneration. Because she was so young and lacked other risk factors, her doctors attributed her vision loss to her having smoked for more than forty years. Instead of reading more about her, take two minutes to hear her tell her story:
Don’t Be Like Marlene
Marlene’s smoking contributed to her vision loss. But did you catch what she said about her eye exam? She had one because she was losing her vision. Putting off care until something is wrong is a dangerous game to play with your health. This is because so many eye diseases and health conditions can do damage before you are aware they are happening.
When it comes to your vision, these eye conditions and diseases are either caused by or made worse by smoking:
- Macular degeneration
- Diabetic retinopathy
- Hypertensive retinopathy
- Dry eyes
- Contact lens problems, including infections
- Corneal problems, especially infections
- Inflammatory eye diseases
And note this list doesn’t even include the bodily effects of smoking, such as:
- Heart disease
- Lung disease
- Gum disease and tooth loss
- Reduced fertility and increased birth defects
- Premature death
So if you smoke, I urge you to do whatever it takes to quit. And whether you smoke or not, get a physical and schedule an eye exam. And place a high value on your health, your vision, and your visual lifestyle now, for the sake of preserving your eyes for the future. You and your loved ones will be glad you did.